Where did the baby name Kushana come from in 1978?

Blues singer Jimmy Witherspoon with his fiancée's daughter, Kushana (March, 1978).
Jimmy Witherspoon with Kushana

The name Kushana debuted impressively in the U.S. baby name data in 1978:

  • 1980: unlisted
  • 1979: unlisted
  • 1978: 23 baby girls named Kushana [debut]
  • 1977: unlisted
  • 1976: unlisted

And it never returned, making it a one-hit wonder — in fact, the top one-hit wonder of the year.

Where did it come from?

A little girl named Kushana who was mentioned (and pictured) in the March 30, 1978, issue of Jet magazine.

She was the daughter of a woman named Sharon, who was the fiancée of blues singer Jimmy Witherspoon. (“The couple met on an elevator in San Francisco six years ago.”)

I’m not sure if the marriage ever took place, though, because I can find no other mention of Witherspoon that refers to either Sharon or Kushana.

(At the time of his death in 1997, Witherspoon had a wife named Diana and three children named Angela, Regina, and James.)

What are your thoughts on the name Kushana?


Image: © 1978 Jet

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